To Jen (poem)

Jennifer Lawrence poses at the 85th Academy Awards nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills

To Jen

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Why can’t you see
That I love you

I love you as Mystique
And Katniss too
Oh damn it
I love all of you

I love your smile
And your eyes
And your humor
Please be mine!

I could go on
Unless you see
That we’re perfect
Marry me?


Don’t laugh at me. Jennifer Lawrence is my future wife.

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The Release Date of Stuart Scott’s Memoir Moved up

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First off, do you know who Stuart Scott was? No? Well he was arguably the most popular anchor on ESPN’s flagship program SportsCenter. He’d been with the network for the past two decades and put a new face to covering sports. He’d also been fighting cancer for the last seven years.

He died January 3 at the young age of 49. I’ll admit that I cried when I found out, which was via text from ESPN early that morning. It wasn’t because I think death or dying is particularly sad, I don’t, but his death showed the impact he’d had on millions of people. There were moments of silence at NFL, NBA, and even college basketball games after his death. Other networks spoke incredibly highly of a man they only knew from afar. And athletes shared their personal stories. His memoir Every Day I Fight was originally slated for a May release. But now that he’s died it’s been moved up to March.

I have an issue with this. I understand that publishing is a business. Anyone who says otherwise hasn’t got a clue, but this was already a surefire bestseller. Stuart Scott was open about his battle long before he wrote this book. And he was watched by millions on ESPN. So I don’t understand why Blue Rider Press (an imprint of Penguin Random House) has decided to change the release date. Quite frankly, I find it disrespectful to Stuart Scott and all of his surviving family. I have no idea how future royalties will be paid out, but it doesn’t matter. I’m sure his family would rather have him back instead of money from a book he wrote.

And I bet some of you will think that at least he’s getting to tell his story, uh no. He was already going to tell his story, but it just so happened that he died a few months before the book’s release. You and I both know that the book would have moved forward with the May release date if he were still alive today. But he’s not and it gets moved up.

Anyway, you can access the book’s Amazon page here. And if you’ve read all of this without having any idea who I’m talking about, well watch this. It’s a speech from last year’s ESPY Awards that he gave after being given the Jim Valvano Award for Perseverance.

What’s Your Problem With James Patterson?

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I’ve written about James Patterson in a number of posts because it doesn’t get any better than him when it comes to selling books. But I’ve also mentioned that his work is scrutinized well beyond the work of others, and I just don’t get it.

How often do you read blog posts about how much that particular person hates JK Rowling or Stephen King? Really doesn’t hardly happen. Or how about how that person will never read any books written by a particular author? That happens, but one wouldn’t expect to be talking about the bestselling author in the world. If you don’t like his books, then okay. No one is holding a gun to your head telling you to read them. But I’m thinking there’s more to it than that. Which really makes no sense to me.

Writers, readers, and other prominent authors seem to feel the need to criticize Patterson for everything he does. Again, this goes beyond the books.

Do you HATE that he sells millions of books every year and you don’t?

Do you HATE that his name is in several different genres?

Do you HATE that he earns nearly $100 million every year?

Do you HATE that you can’t break into traditional publishing and he runs the damn place?

Do you HATE that you’re so obviously a better writer than he is?

Do you HATE that he’s assisted in his writing by other writers?

Or do you just not find his work appealing?

Seriously, answer those questions. Because we both know that it won’t just be about the books. It never is when it comes to Patterson.

But let’s slow down a bit. James Patterson won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel back in 1976 for his novel The Thomas Berryman Number. Guys, you don’t win Edgar awards by accident. So to sit there and say that he’s the worst writer blah blah blah is just a matter of your opinion. Second, so many people seem to pay so much attention to how he uses other writers. Why? What do you care how he writes his books? You don’t even know how your favorite authors go about writing their books or their process or much of anything besides their release dates. But James Patterson working with several other authors suddenly makes him a terrible person, right? Even though there’s no doubt in my mind that every one of those authors has made A LOT of money by working with him. Oh, but writing isn’t about money, right?

Third, James Patterson releases books in multiple genres. Oh no, the world is going to end. He’s no good for writing books that can be read by just about anyone, but it’s okay if JK Rowling writes whatever she wants because she gave us Harry Potter. Yep. Shut up. There’s not even an argument with this one.

It boils down to the fact that James Patterson is undoubtedly the best at what he sets out to do, sell books. I’m not going to say he’s the best writer writing today, because I certainly don’t believe that to be true, but the criticism he receives is so often about something other than the books. It’s about James Patterson the person or his philosophy when it comes to writing or how much money he makes every year.

He collaborates with other authors. Get over it. He releases several books a year. Get over it. He has more money than you do. Get over it.

By the way, I only read one series he writes. His original. Alex Cross. A series HE writes.

Writing Pet Peeves #4: A/An

Okay. I have no idea how long ago I was taught when to use “A” versus when to use “An” but it was very early on in my school years. Unfortunately, I’m not going to go into a mini lesson about the two because every person who reaches my blog is well beyond the age at which one should know how to use them. I mean, if you read a sentence out loud that uses one of these words incorrectly it just doesn’t sound right. Let’s try.

“A eagle flew high above the park.”

That sounds wrong. So saying that they both sound correct isn’t even close to being a legitimate excuse. Let’s try one more.

“An girl walked along the busy street.”

Oh my goodness. No. This is ridiculous. I bet some of you are thinking that these two examples are so obvious, but no. Every time one of these two words is used incorrectly the error is so obvious that you just want to kick someone in the shin. Or is that just me?

2015: The Year of the Reading Challenge

I have a personal reading challenge each year to read 50 books. But this year I’ve seen so many different reading challenges floating around WordPress that I’m growing dizzy. I’m used to seeing people talk about their Goodreads challenges because those are their own goals, but I really don’t remember seeing so many posts at the beginning of 2014 about this challenge and that one. Maybe there’s some reason for this that I’m unaware of or maybe I still had no idea what I was doing on WordPress 12 months ago that I was simply out of the loop.

I’ve looked over a few of the challenges and they’re okay. I don’t think they’d really interest me because I’m not going to let some website or blogger tell me what I should be reading, unless I conduct a poll of my readers, that is. I’d like to think I can accomplish the goal of being well read just fine on my own without a very definitive list leading the way. But eh, I think I’m in the minority here based on the posts I’ve come across.

So, are you participating in a reading challenge this year? I am. It’s called the “John Guillen Finally Reads 50 Books in a Single Calendar Year Reading Challenge.” Here are just a few of the ones I’ve come across, with the PopSugar one easily the most popular.

If I hit my follower goal for the year, then I may just come up with one of these for next year. Wouldn’t even matter how many people actually participated. It would just be another way for me to interact with you all.

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Writers, Stop Saying You’re OCD

First off, when someone writes, “I’m OCD about my writing.” that doesn’t even make sense. And second, it’s a stupid thing to say. Do you have any idea what it’s like to live with OCD? Seriously, any idea at all? No? Then shut up. Do you think it would be acceptable for other people to say that they’re autistic when it comes to something? Or that they’re dyslexic when they’re not? But it’s somehow okay for you to go around saying you’re so OCD about your writing? See how dumb that sounds?

You want to say you’re attentive to detail with your writing, then say that. You want to say you’re a perfectionist with your writing, then say it. But let me tell you as someone who knows exactly what OCD is like, it isn’t just being a perfectionist. It isn’t just being attentive to detail. It’s not something that you can understand unless you’ve been around it. I have. You probably haven’t.

Let me give you a slight glimpse into what I’ve seen. We all have our daily routines, right? We don’t even have to think about them. Wake up. Go to work. Come home. Whatever it may be. But think about if you were so particular about what you’re doing that the time it took for you to get ready for work everyday doubled. Think of having to do every single task exactly the same every time. Think of sitting in your car and having to change the radio exactly the same number of times before you can settle on the channel you started on. Think of having to wash your hands constantly just because you have to. Think of losing your job because your OCD has you so consumed by minor tasks that you can never get to work on time. Think of your home having to be spotless 24/7. Not clean, spotless. Think of no one understanding your behavior but proceeding to judge you anyway. And the thing is that I just barely hit the tip of the iceberg about OCD. There are many more things I could mention that the average person just won’t get.

I bet you read all of those things thinking that it’s not a big deal, and that’s the problem. You don’t get it. And you never will.

You should read up on what OCD really is before you go off saying how OCD you are about something. Otherwise you just look like an ignorant prick.

Books Hitting the Big Screen in 2015

Is it me or did that title rhyme a bit? Hm.

Anyway, 2015 is another year full of books being adapted into movies. I wrote a million years ago about Hollywood’s fascination with turning toward the literary world for movie ideas. We all hear about the movie deals for this title and for that one just about every week. A movie is a hit, another book by the same author is adapted. Two prime examples of this just from 2014 are Gillian Flynn and John Green. And let’s not forget that the top grossing movie at the domestic box office has been adapted from a book in three of the last four calendar years. 2011 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. 2013 – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. 2014 – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.  Technically Guardians of the Galaxy still shows as the top grossing movie of last year, but I’m happy to say that Mockingjay is just a short time from claiming the top spot.

So when you take those little tidbits into consideration, it’s easy to see why Hollywood is always searching for that next big hit by way of the publishing industry. American Sniper just expanded its release and what happens? With Bradley Cooper as the lead and awards buzz from every which way, it’s going to shatter the January opening record at the box office. Another movie adapted from a book.

I’m sure you know exactly when your favorite adaptation will be released this year, but here are 20 notable releases. And no, I didn’t come up with the list myself. And no, I don’t have release dates because I’m too lazy to find them on Box Office Mojo. Here’s the list:

Silence

The Revenant

The Light Between Oceans

Paper Towns

In the Heart of the Sea

The Martian

The Zookeeper’s Wife

The Secret Scripture

Into the Forest

A Book of Common Prayer

Walk in the Woods

Lion

Dark Places

Child 44

Carol (The Price of Salt)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

The Jungle Book

Macbeth

The Duff

Far from the Madding Crowd

And that’s it. Of course, none of these matter. It’s all about how soon November can get here so we can see Katniss again. Sorry for the lack of actual information about each movie, but I stole the list from here and they tell you a little about the story and the actors involved with most of the adaptations.

Are you looking forward to ANY of these? I’m not. But eh.

PS: You should know by now that the Fifty Shades of Grey movie is just weeks away from its release date. Well I read from a very good box office guy that it might open to more than $75 million domestically. A little perspective, Twilight opened to $69 million and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone opened to $90 million.